Free Markets, Free People
I say that in the title fully understanding that in reality Howard Dean reflects how some (many?) on the liberal side of the house actually feel, or perhaps a better way of saying that is how they delude themselves into feeling. Take this for instance … Howard Dean on the Wisconsin recall election:
DEAN: First of all, we look at Wisconsin as a win. We, which is not reported in the mainstream media, we picked up a senate seat, which denies Scott Walker a majority in the senate. So we put the breaks on him at least until the next election season. Secondly, you know, I always thought the base would come around because, as they like to say in Obama-land, we’re not running against the Almighty, we’re running against the alternative. Mitt Romney is well-known among the American people, let alone progressives, as someone who mostly caters to very wealthy Americans, and doesn’t have a lot of understanding or sympathy for those who aren’t. I’m pretty sure we’re in good shape and I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a big progressive turnout.
Wow. First, the Senate win was an empty win. The legislature is not in session and with redistricting (which was done by the Republican legislature), the “new” Senator will have to again run for the seat before the legislature again meets. Forecasts say the Republicans will pick up at least one more seat at that time. So the win is a win in name only. It means nothing whatsoever until the next election.
Second … does anyone, given the turn out in Wisconsin, believe that line of crap about “progressive turnout”? And even if progressives do turn out, they’re what, 25% of the electorate tops? It isn’t the progressives who are going to re-elect Barack Obama. It is the big middle who is deserting him right now.
But, that said, I just don’t see a big progressive turnout in the cards either.
Dean, however, is going to stay on message no matter how ridiculous it sounds:
REPORTER: Are you seeing a difference in the mood here compared to previous years? Last year, there were some combative moments and this time around it seems, so far anyway—
DEAN: Again, it’s the fourth quarter. I’ve had my differences with the administration, particularly over health-care policy, but this is the fourth quarter. I always used to say when I was DNC chair we’re going to elect a Democratic president and hold their feet to the fire to make sure they behave like Democrats. In the fourth quarter, everybody’s on the same team again—we’ve got to win this game. I hesitate to think of what’s going to happen to the budget deficit, because of course the Republicans are the biggest creators of budget deficits, should Mitt Romney win and have a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We’ll get a big turnout.
Yup, that’s sort of the same message about teams that you hear on the GOP side. Everyone get onboard.
However, in the real world, it seems that the team forming on the right is much more enthusiastic (at least at this point) than the one on the left, and on the right they don’t even have an official nominee yet.
As for the budget nonsense – boilerplate crap that adheres to the discredited spin that Obama has spent less than any president in 60 years. Only progressives believe that, apparently.
REPORTER: Do you think there’s a change in the relationship between the Democratic base and labor in particular? I’ve talked to a couple activists here who say they’re a little dispirited, that they don’t know whether engaging in electoral politics is the best role for labor unions after Wisconsin.
DEAN: Well, I think the parameters have changed dramatically. The old politics is not going to work anymore. We’re not going to be able to outspend the Republicans under the circumstances of Citizens United, so I think we’re going to have to look for a different kind of politics. I think that the campaign, actually, in Wisconsin—the principal problem there was not being outspent; the principal problem there was people were tired of elections. Had they waited another three months, they might have gotten an indictment in the administration, and that would have been significant grounds to throw out a sitting governor—and I think a lot of people would think so. The most interesting thing about the Wisconsin race was that about 10 percent of the electorate that voted to keep Walker, also said they would vote for Obama in the fall, which gave Obama the state. We’ll see. I’m not one of those who thought last week was a bad week for the Democrats. I actually thought last week was a good week for Democrats.
Tired of elections? That’s why record numbers turned out and resoundingly thumped the recall effort? We’ve already seen the “outspent” nonsense debunked. If your fall back to an electoral debacle is “people are tired of elections” given the turnout and result, you’re out of credible ideas and just pumping out hot air.
Dean, along with perhaps Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and David Axlerod are about the only people in America that thought last week was a “good week for Democrats”. That said, I wish them many more like it.
REPORTER: How about in the fall? Do you think that when it comes to Obama communicating with the base and doing things that will energize the base, is there anything that you’d like to see him do between now and then?
DEAN: I’d like to see him keep hammering away at Romney’s—the one thing, you’ve got to hammer at people’s beliefs. You can’t sort of convince people that, for example as the Republicans have been trying to do, that the problem with the president is that he was born in Kenya—that’s just not going to work. You don’t have to convince people that Romney only cares about rich people, because that’s what they believe already. So you just have to keep hammering that message home, that this is not a guy who understands you. And I think we’re going to win.
And I can only hope Obama takes Dean’s advice, because it will guarantee a one term presidency if he does.
I put all this up because whether Democrats like it or not, this is one of the faces of the Democratic party. And if you think he’s out to lunch, tune in to Debbie Wasserman-Shultz for a while. She makes Dean seem sane.
Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is one of the more entertaining politicians to watch. Not necessarily because she isn’t the brightest penny in the roll or because she’s the head of the DNC (although both end up factoring in), but because she unwittingly and routinely mouths the platitudes that best exemplify why the left and right are so different.
Last night, while claiming that it is a slam dunk that Jews will vote for Obama (despite NY-9), she was reported to have said:
The Florida Democrat also insisted that the president will have no trouble winning her state – the stage for the Republican primary debate Thursday night – because Floridans understand that the president has fought hard to create jobs and turn the economy around.
Emphasis mine. That emphasized phrase, to me, underscores something fundamentally different in the way each side thinks.
Trying is nice, but results are what count to most on the right (and most rational Americans). But Wasserman-Shultz comes from the “hey, he tried and that’s good enough” school of reinforcing failure with feel-good nonsense (designed to get the failure another chance).
Obama tried. Vote for him again so he can try some more. Nevermind he’s in way over his head. Nevermind that he’s never been a leader in anything and it shows. Nevermind that everything he tried has failed and cost you 4 trillion in debt while he was at it. Nevermind that he refused to listen to the vast majority of you and rammed a costly and atrocious health care bill through and signed it into law. Nevermind that his promise to hold unemployment under 8% if you gave him a trillion dollars actually saw unemployment hit 10% after it was approved. Nevermind that he has totally ignored the unemployment problem and when, finally, forced to confront it (there’s an election coming up, you know), offers another spending bill with the same tired programs that failed before.
Anyone know what a list of “accomplishments” such as Obama’s would garner any employee at review time?
An invitation to go visit their incompetence on another employer if they can find one that would take them.
Certainly not the bonus of keeping their job, that’s for sure.
The unfortunate thing for the Democrats is most Americans think like the right, not the left, on this issue.
One of the basic laws of politics, which even the kid running for class president should know, is if you’re going to bash your opponent on an issue, you’d better have your ducks in a row on that issue or it is you who will come out looking idiotic.
Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the chairwoman of the DNC, recently tore into the GOP presidential contenders who were opposed to the bailouts for GM and Chrysler.
"If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes," she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.
As you’ve probably already guessed Wasserman Shultz doesn’t drive an American car, and certainly not a GM or Chrysler model. Nope – she drives an Infinity. It’s up to the little people, apparently, to “buy American”.
There are several ways Wasserman Shultz could have approached this issue without inserting “foreign cars” into the mix. But she didn’t. Apparently she didn’t think about her words at all before she spoke out. She comes from the “blurt and backpedal” school of politics which makes for great blogging fodder for those of us out here in the blogosphere.
Of course, the fact is the federal government shouldn’t have been involved in the bailouts and had the two car companies gone into bankruptcy, they’d have most likely emerged by now, leaner, meaner and more fiscally sound. As it stands now, we simply don’t know if they have the long range fiscal soundness they need to compete and make a consistent profit because, that process was interrupted and we ended up subsidizing failure and discouraged future investors with the way the previous investors were treated (compensated) and how ownership was then divided.
"They can try to distract from the issue if they want," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "But if Republican opposition researchers are snooping around garages, they should know that if Republicans — who said that we should let the U.S. auto industry go bankrupt — had their way, they wouldn’t find a single American made car anywhere."
Uh, hello in there – Ford?
Tis the season where absurd and wild claims are made (to be fair – by both sides) hoping they’ll hold up at least until the election has passed. Some, however, just are too off the wall and blow up immediately upon being uttered. An example is this claim by Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
“On the pace that we’re on with job creation in the last four months — if we continue on that pace — all the leading economists say it is likely that we will — we will have created more jobs in this year than in the entire Bush Presidency,” Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Weston, said on FOX News.
On its face, you immediately say –wait a minute, that can’t be true. To make that claim, one has to ignore the jobs lost prior to the “last four months” and disregard the total jobs created during the Bush era. Obviously the same process was going on during the Bush administration (job losses vs. job gains) which ended with a net positive. Wasserman Schultz would like you to ignore the meaning of “net” and job loss numbers in favor of only focusing on the pace of job creation. And I’m not sure she’s right about that.
As Veronique de Rugy points out over at NRO, while the jobs picture during the Bush administration was nothing to brag about, there’s no way that Wasserman Shultz’s claim has any credibility in the face of an economy that has shed almost 3 million jobs in the private sector during Obama’s presidency.
In effect, it’s a shot at getting a meme started with low information voters hoping they’ll accept it at face value and it will influence their vote. You have to love the “all the leading economists” appeal to authority she dropped in there. But if you want hard numbers, well, forget it.
They do exist however. Instead of providing them (you can see them in de Rugy’s post at NRO), a graph will do a much better job of pointing out the absolute nonsense of the Wasserman Schultz claim. While it is possible that more than 675,000 jobs created in the next 4 months somewhere, as we just saw with the latest numbers, the economy is still shedding jobs (95,000). It is the net that counts – not just one side of the ledger. If you “create” 1,000,000 jobs but lose 2,000,000 during the same period, it’s a net loss. And that’s what we continue to suffer right now. So her’s is an empty and meaningless claim that is disingenuous because ignores the whole picture in a transparent attempt to drag the left’s favorite punching bag back into the argument.
While total employment rose slightly (675,000 net jobs) during the Bush presidency, most of it was government employment. During the Obama presidency there’s been no overall growth of employment except slightly at the federal government level and no net increase. What Wasserman Shultz wants you to ignore is the blue bar on the left and the negative net job numbers we continue to see. If you do that, the claim sounds good. If you don’t, then her claim is nonsense.
Bottom line is Wasserman Schultz’s claim is selective statistical nonsense, but I expect to see it somewhere, sometime repeated as gospel.
UPDATE: Dale sends along the Bureau of Labor Statistics spread sheet which shows:
- From Jan 01 to Jan 09, a net of 1,080,000 jobs were created.
- From Jan 09 to present, 3,348,000 jobs have been lost.
- The low point in non-farm employment was Dec 09, when there were 129,588,000 payroll jobs
- Since that low, 613,000 jobs have been created.
- There are 580,000 fewer payroll jobs today than there were in January of 2000.
Make sure you understand that last line. In a nation that has increased its population during the last 10 years, we have a net job loss of 580,000 jobs since 2000.